Summary: Women’s running shoes should have motion control, should be flexible, and should have lesser cushioning. Read on why.
Normally, there’s no marked difference between men and women’s running shoes. Any shoes that men may wear could also be worn by women without any reduced differences in performance or causing a possible health risk.
Experts tend to disagree though. The key difference between the sexes is physiology. Since female had wider hips (relevant to childbearing), the end result would be that women’s legs tend to slant downwards at a greater angle from the hip to the ankles, a sharp contrast from the men who tend to have legs that are more splayed to the sides and toes pointing markedly in a 90° angle. The slanting of the legs in turn will cause the feet to hit the ground from the outside, creating an opposite force direction that would also pull the gait inwards. The result would be an inward pronation action during every footstep.
Another difference is also body mass. A typical female in an 8 inch shoe size will weigh lesser than a male with a shoe of the same size. So this basically means that a women’s 8 inch shoe should have lesser cushioning than the male’s 8 inch shoe. Cushioning, though a positive feature on all running shoes, may also provide unwittingly an amount of stiffness. This is generally okay for male runners since they can easily bend even the stiffest shoe while they ran, but for women they could have trouble in flexing their shoes properly.
Summing it all up, women’s running shoes should have a bit of motion control to limit pronation and should be flexible enough to compensate the lack of strength. Also, typical women’s running shoes should have lesser cushioning since women are lighter.
Saucony had been a favorite choice for women’s running shoes over the years, with designs that apparently were favorable with female runners. Saucony shoes are noted to have narrow designs and defined heels. Other shoe manufacturers also have their own line of women’s running shoe, such as New Balance and Nike.